short or long

yosef limbers hebrew2day at
Sat Jan 12 16:01:42 EST 2002

In the 3rd person plural (M or F) perfect tense how do you tell if the 
vowel is long or short, or if the shva is silent or vocal?
I know the functions of the shva, but when the vowel is a gamets(before
conjugated) does it change?
  GEORGE ATHAS said :"A shewa that is the fourth item in a syllable will
always be a silent shewa that
closes a syllable."

 Does this apply to word?

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